Coronavirus: Sony, Amazon quit tech show

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 00:00 |
Corona virus outtbreak in China. Photo/AFP

London, Monday

Sony and Amazon are the latest major companies to pull out of one of the world’s largest tech shows because of risks posed by coronavirus.

Sony said it would no longer take part in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona after “monitoring the evolving situation” after the coronavirus outbreak.

The organiser has said the event, which attracts 100,000 people, will go ahead.

But it admitted other companies are considering whether to attend.

South Korea’s LG Electronics, Ericsson, the Swedish telecoms equipment-maker, and US chip company NVIDIA have all withdrawn from the conference, which runs between February 24 and 27.

The GSMA, which organises the show in the Spanish city, said that while it could “confirm some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps, we remain more than 2,800 exhibitors strong”.

However, it revealed that it had put in place additional measures to “reassure attendees and exhibitors that their health and safety are our paramount concern”.

These include a ban on all travellers from China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, while people who have been in China must provide proof they have been outside the country for 14 days.The GSMA estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 people visit Mobile World Congress.

The GSMA also says it will suggest participants should not shake hands with each other at the show, and microphones used by speakers will be disinfected and changed.

Coronavirus has now killed more than 800 people - the vast majority in mainland China - and infected 34,800 others.

The Singapore Airshow, which is due to open on Tuesday, has also seen major firms pull out of the event, including US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Bombardier and Gulfstream Aerospace have also said they will not attend.

Meanwhile, a large number of China’s factories remained closed yesterday even as millions of people returned to work after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended due to the coronavirus.

The shutdowns are having a major impact on the world’s second largest economy and global supply chains.

Some big car makers now face the threat of a shortage of parts. There are also concerns about supplies of Apple products as the disruptions continue.

Employers across China had been ordered to remain closed after the annual holiday as part of attempts by authorities to stem the spread of the virus.

For many companies those restrictions have now been removed, although several major manufacturers remain closed.

Foxconn, which is a major supplier to Apple, has yet to reopen its largest Chinese factory.  -BBC

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